From his formative days on the competition circuit through to residencies at venues such as The Lounge and Republika and his years living in Thailand, DJ iLLpRintz has been forming quite the résumé. The seasoned Melbourne native, real name Luke Ryley, emerged in 2004, a time when the sound of breakbeats still wafted through local venues, before the large scale proliferation of EDM and clubbing brands. “There were a lot of smaller parties being thrown by amateur promoters and/or DJs, and warehouse parties were really popular,” explains the congenial Ryley.
A music lover and “failed guitarist”, he gravitated towards DJing thanks to his love for hip hop and was further inspired to get behind the decks by the instant gratification that comes with it. “As I started to play gigs it became more about the enjoyment and challenge of making people dance.”
It was at this time he first learned about the challenges of being a DJ and the skills needed to truly keep a crowd moving. “As most DJs will tell you, getting the floor going and keeping it that way can be a lot harder than it seems.” Evolving his style over time, iLLpRintz has brought in more electronic vibes into his live sets and can now be heard blending hip hop with electronic sounds. These party-rocking skills will be in full effect as he takes over the decks at Plan B in Richmond this New Year’s Eve, performing an expansive nine-hour set. “I get the opportunity to really dig deep into the collection and not only play what’s hot right now, but also get through a lot of the classics from a few different genres,” Ryley enthuses. Always looking to ride positive waves, the veteran DJ has played NYE gigs at numerous venues since getting started. “I’ve been really lucky over the years playing every year for as long as I can remember. I’m looking forward to playing at Plan B this NYE, it’s one of the best venues in Richmond.”
One of the ingredients that makes Ryley such a unique and complete DJ entity is the three years he spent living and performing in the party centric Thailand. Navigating his way around his new surroundings, he became an established promoter and performer. “Bangkok has an amazing nightlife once you scratch the surface and find the hot spots.” In his time there he linked up with many fellow DJs and industry types, and more importantly met his future wife. Thanks to Thailand’s notoriously humid climate, Ryley also became strongly acquainted with the phenomenon of the rooftop party. “The parties we organised were thrown on some of the lushest rooftops Bangkok has to offer.”
As lovers of music and dance, it wasn’t difficult to attract locals (and tourists) to his events, drawing 300-plus people through Facebook promoting alone. “The great thing about organising a party over there was if you invited people, they would come.” When not on the rooftop, he experienced another uniquely Thai phenomenon, the full moon party. Ryley rocked Koh Tao, an island near the full moon party central of Koh Phangan. “Playing New Year’s Eve on the beach there, with people out on the sand as far as the eye could see was a highlight.” Ryley manages to sandwich studio production work in between the gigs and a day job. The owner of the Digital Labs imprint, he’s currently looking to finish off a couple of half-done projects. “It’s near impossible to find time. If I’m not at work I’m preparing for a DJ gig. I’m on holidays now so hopefully it’s a chance for me to get back into the studio.”
BY ANDREW 'HAZARD' HICKEY